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Microsoft announces four week Family Caregiver leave benefit

28 June 2017

Microsoft is upping the ante on paid leave for employees who need to take care of a sick relative. The company was previously offering 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Workers always use this time to look after their sick or elderly family member.

Caregiver leave was among the potential benefits requested most often by Microsoft employees, and one that Microsoft's executives had been keeping their eye on as companies and countries deployed caregiver leave policies, the company said. Microsoft employees in 22 countries already have the new benefit, and a broader rollout in the coming months is expected to cover the rest of Microsoft's 121,500 employees worldwide. The benefit, now available for USA branches as well as 22 other countries already, applies to those with family that are undertaking "serious health conditions".

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expanding its employee's paid leave who need to take of a sick relative. Netflix, for example, offers unlimited paid leave for new parents for the first year after their child is born. Early this year Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) expanded its employee benefits and included 20 days of paid leave to allow its employees to grieve the loss of a family member.

As The Seattle Times notes, a four-week annual allowance goes "beyond the bare minimum that U.S. law requires", and it means Microsoft joins a handful of other United States companies in supporting caregivers (Facebook offers six weeks, Deloitte a very generous 16 weeks, and Discovery Communications' dozen weeks).

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John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas said companies are very concerned about recruiting and retaining top talent. He adds that many companies are helping their employees strike a balance between work and life.

Microsoft human resources chief Kathleen Hogan said in a blog post that her experience fighting breast cancer also helped inform her thinking on leave policies. In Microsoft's case, the company is offering paid time off that is separate from other vacation time or holidays that its employees get. Among non-family caregiver perks some companies are dangling include help in repaying student loans, gym memberships, sabbaticals, and healthcare insurance for pets.

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Microsoft announces four week Family Caregiver leave benefit